OBCA Convention: Looking back and forth

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Though not prescheduled, I headed to Atlanta to blog live about the first nation convention of the Organization of Bhutanese Communities in America (OBCA) from June 18-19. A never practiced trend, Bhutan News Service (BNS) finally reported the event live, though it was from mobile due to lack of internet connection in the convention venue.

Participants in the first day convention. Photo/Author
Participants in the first day convention. Photo/Author

As hundreds of Diasporic eyes were closely monitoring and observing the event, in whatsoever ways, I thought, for sure, it was the responsibility of media person to disseminate information. As the live blogging was from mobile, we failed to update about the event in detail. Here is a short report-like analysis piece.

Details
When I along with our North Carolian correspondent, Abi Subedi, reached the venue hall, we noticed the floor discussing By-Laws of the newly formed OBCA. Though the convention actually began at 6.30 pm, according to the organizers, we reached there almost at 7.50 pm on the first day. Bhakti Sharma, the Chief Coordinator of the first national convention along with DJ Khaling were seen busy presenting the By-Laws whereas the floor quite often hammered bulks of questions in connection to their By-Laws. Most of such questions were answered; some of them, however, were kept in pending citing that the convention was running out of time and that they would continue the discussion the following day.

Ground voices for “unity” and a “single platform,” which so ever be formed, was repeatedly reflected. This was quite an attention seeking opinion from public, though it is yet to be seen how newly elected emerging young leaders interpret it and transform it into practice.

BNS Correspondent Abi Subedi using mobile to upadate news live. Photo/Author
BNS Correspondent Abi Subedi using mobile to upadate news live. Photo/Author

According to their By-Laws, the objectives of OBCA are;
– To communicate and advocate for necessary support and assistance to the Bhutanese community, especially during the resettlement phase, to preserve and promote Bhutanese tradition and culture, social norms and values.

– To establish and maintain its own Community Centers in the states where Bhutanese reside.
-To promote and extend mutual help and cooperation among the community members.
-To facilitate and enable community members have an easy access to different services, jobs and other opportunities.
-To facilitate and enable the community members transform themselves easily into the mainstream society.
-To solicit, receive and manage funds, gifts, charities and donations in support of OBCA’s purpose.
-To coordinate and launch educational, health, charitable and other noteworthy humanitarian programs in the community in all the states.
-To encourage and acknowledge civic engagement among the Bhutanese community through factors influencing connection with civic engagement opportunities.
-To establish community media and develop strong social networking tools for the Bhutanese community.
-To keep the Bhutanese community articulated and informed about changes and developments taking place within the community, in Bhutan and the world at large.
-To cooperate and collaborate with organizations in regional and international level on matters of common cause and objectives.

Setbacks
From the management point of view, the Georgian event-organizers had actually failed in several aspects to manage all necessary arrangements for the program. In one way or the other, participants who had walked all the way from long distance including from the Alaska, among others were not that happy in regard to the management.

Talking briefly with the BNS representative in the convention venue, the Alaskan team complained that despite their repeated requests, the organizers didn’t spare them some minutes to listen to their feelings. Though it was difficult to verify such progress immediately, the newly elected chairs were seen busy discussing with Alaskan team—the outcome of which was later reported to be good.

Alaskan team in the convention hall. Photo/Author
Alaskan team in the convention hall. Photo/Author

At some point, the second day convention is worth mentioning and more significant as it was a day for election. The second day sessions, said to begin from 6.30 am on June 19, actually began only at 9.45 am. Our old-tradition of not being very punctual to time was clearly reflected. A clear majority of the organizing committee members, who stepped in and out of the convention hall, were seen having involved in campaigning for leadership of their “choice”.

Interestingly, the unpunctuality in managing time appropriately had led the organizers to see only around 55, almost half of the population seen on first day, participants during the time of election, which was through consensus basis. It was reportedly learnt that the OBCA had scheduled to present cultural shows after the election. However, as the organizers were late to wrap-up their program, more than half-filled floor of the hall with the capacity of 500 was rocked with cultural shows at a time when around 55 people were busy holding election in another hall, nearly-attached to one another.

Achievements
The election result evidently shows that our younger generation is emerging to take a lead role to serve the community. However, the fact that the contribution and guidance of experts, experienced and older generation community leaders that stands unavoidable, should not be undermined in any sense. Youth’s single effort, for sure, is not very stronger until we learn to be guided by seniors from within the community. As we are in transitional phase, the need to have collective leadership is yet another significant demand of the time. This demand in one sense will largely contribute for “unity” of the community.

Kumar Gurung (front from right followed by Yam Kharel in white shirt being greeted by BM Rai and Bhakti Sharma. Photo/Author
Kumar Gurung (front from right followed by Yam Kharel in white shirt being greeted by BM Rai and Bhakti Sharma. Photo/Author

According to organizer of the event, representatives from at least 17 different States from within the USA took active participation. Though some of the representatives were present on the event as observer, the way those many states showed their “mandated” participation is one of the greatest achievements the convention made.

Participant’s collective decision to go for “consensus basis” election is yet another attainment. Yet, this is not all about what has been the demand of time. More than a clear majority of Bhutanese are voicing for a single platform, united move, and stronger intactness of the community.

The challenge
Days after the convention of the OBCA, Bhutanese will soon see another convention of the Association of Bhutanese in America (ABA) slated from July 2-4 in the same venue. If both of these organizations continue to compete with one another, it is sure one might win the game; yet community as a whole will lose it though. Public don’t want to live in a divided society. Now the challenge being shouldered by both the organizations is to work for “unity”.

26644 COMMENTS

  1. Im very much pleased with the article written by TP Mishra .I think it is not that much important to highlight this germs of bhutanese society .They will not bring unity strenth and sound health in the bhutanese society,instead they will bring fragmentation and frastation in bhutanese .These people are still in cradle compparing american people .let them meet the paralle line of civiliztion of american life .
    i salute for the good effort they tried .
    Thanks

  2. Mishra ji, you contribution to Bhutanese community is commendable. We learnt you had been to Georgia to report the issue. Why didn’t you think of contesting for chairman position. People like you will be widely supported. Common, Mr. Mishra ji. we will support any organisation led by people like you!

  3. I could see many ambitious objectives which may be too difficult to meet the goal within the limited resources. And interestingly some are counter-attacking each others, for example swift transformation to main stream versus preservation of norms and values to retain the identity. Does it imply that some sections need to transform while other section need to be as it is? Such ill- defined objective will give a void for the outcomes that need to be fixed in some measurable units.
    Categorize the plan for short term and long term. Short terms need to be addressed immediately, and with this as a point of departure the organization has been set up.
    And one of the objectives is to ease our community folks for finding the jobs. That means now we can start submitting our resumes to OBCA and the organization shall begin to procure it for the respective post. Which department of the organization is going to perform this task and to whom shall people begin to approach? Is this not too vague for you guys as we individuals are unemployed and struggling to meet the ends of life, and how easily you can utter the words that you can promise the jobs for people. Can you say by 2 years time frame OBCA can find 50 jobs across USA? Just 1 job in each state through the new organization.
    And did you guys fix your salary yet for the portfolio that has been baptized? Who will get what share?
    Understand that these are not the negative comments. These are some of the prediction of what people do expect from the institutions. And this will serve as the place where the institution needs to focus to reach their goal most appropriately. Atleast use one tool to know the situation of the organization so that you can use your strength and opportunity to overcome your weakness and threats. My purpose of writing is to let the organization do well to the common people and talk what you can achieve.
    And organization cannot be complete without the involvement of people of all walks of professions and ages. I could see some fresh amateur individuals trying to lead everything.
    Lastly, TP jee, did not this conference give an opportunity to meet the friends, relatives and family members across USA?

  4. Very excited about the forth coming ABA meeting and hope along with all that both OBCA and ABA will shed their differences and jointly venture towards an united front with the common objective to help and render necessary services to Bhutanese community. I sincerely hope that OBCA participates and let their grievances known and ABA will take it up and address it. Inclusiveness and participation of all organization should be the order of the day and yield common results. Change is what we expect and the both the orgainzations should be keen to project their united front. Boycotts and negative feedbacks will usher in disunification and disenchant all and will only drive home the point that our leaders and organizations are only so much interested in securing posts and are careless when it comes to the common good of all people.

    I also beseech all the people to reflect on how to go forward and refrain from passing on personal negative comments. Feeback and constructive criticism is always welcome however blames and personal backlash on individuals culminates in resentments and death of character.

    Bhutanese Georgians welcomes all participants.

    Thanks.

  5. Mishara Zee,
    Good report, thanks for bringing the report to us. I and my appartment folks had appericate your job ! Will you take the interview with those who do not want to be in OBCA even active before convention ?
    Mishra Zee, Will you come to ABA Convention ? If than let me know “[email protected]” So we will be at my appartment or some motal as your convinent.

    Thanks

    Madan
    Willo Branch appt.
    Georgia

  6. good job.keep it up.you all guys can open individual party and fight for the ??????? post,so that you can achieve your individual goals. don’t you fell ashame to do same thing what you used to do in camps.please change your mind and start doing something,which is revelant to the current situation and place where you guys are.the people who runs after this ??????? leaders will achieve nothing,rather than developing same ????????????? mind they have.all the best,god bless you.

  7. “to preserve and promote Bhutanese tradition and culture, social norms and values.” one of the OBCA objectives!

    should not this be “to preserve and promote Nepalese tradition and culture, social norms and values.” or if not HINDU traditons & values.

    you are afterall nepalese head to toe & you ran away from the very “Bhutanese culture (gho, kira & diglam namza)” that you despised so that you could wear your daura & sural.

  8. It is like I deliver Pizza,but I love my job.I think these kind of professional people will drive us no where.They might think they did a good job,but i consider it is just meeting up people who want to ask some fund to travel around USA.

  9. Mr. Ram,
    I learn that from your writing that you are good observer of all the organazation.
    But You are the same guy running the Musical Group in Atlanta or ?????????
    If than How much in your share? If you don’t mind. !
    Always wandaring guy from same state Georgia.

    Georgia(group)

  10. Kudos the TP Mishra for ‘Live Blogging”. With this, the BNS had gone a step ahead in employing technology inorder to reach ‘instant’ news to the people while it is still cooking. Now that, this write up has come – people can only feel the depth of the Convention as observed through the eyes of a journalist.

    I appreciate TP Mishra’s committment to professional journalism. He was on the way to Raleigh, North Carolina moving from New York. Unemployed for some time, not having transportation but moving permanently to a different state (with a lot of uncertainities) and in the process getting stranded in between (Richmond)- yet he could still make it to the Convention. He reached Georgia with the help of a few friends of his in NC, on the same day he saw his new home in Raleigh, NC.

    That is TP Mishra – truly setting an example for others – journalists and communtiy workers.

  11. Good report, Thakur. A little tilted though. May be you were feeling drunk with some acidic facts. I understand that you had some personal stress getting there.

    I am of the view that if ever we need a nationwide community org in the US, it should be like OBCA, which may or not be able to help the local bodies materially. Truly, it just needs to be taken as an umbrella. It all depends upon the commitment to the needs and hard work of the local bodies, and very importantly,sharing of their successes with OBCA. It should not be taken as an affiliation, but as the functioning of varoius organs of a body.

  12. If OBCA is an organisation of Bhutanese in America, I didnot know that any bhutanese from North Dakota has taken part in the convention. I know no body knew about this.Is it not shameful to say that it is organisation of Bhutanese community in America when it is localised to few states?

  13. Hi guys! what is OBCA and ABA? Are you growing organisations just to take the seat of presidents or vice presidents or chairman, ……………. like that?
    If OBCA is going to represent bhutanese community in America, why ABA?
    Remember that USA has just two political parties.Think of your population.

    Bicalpa,Fargo